UK-based subsea engineering specialist Soil Machine Dynamics Ltd (SMD) has successfully completed first stage testing in a pioneering project which is set to uncover valuable European mineral resources.
SMD is technical lead on the ¡VAMOS! (viable alternative mine operating system) project, a 42-month international research and development venture, which is part-funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program.
At a cost of approximately 12.6 million Euros, SMD and its partners in the ¡VAMOS! Consortium, have designed and built a robotic underwater mining prototype with launch and recovery technology to perform field tests at four EU mining sites.
Stef Kapusniak, Project Director at SMD, explains: “Testing at the first trial site went very well. Testing at further sites in different rock types at different water depths will enable confirmation of the system’s potential for industrial scale applications. This is a very exciting time, as completion of testing will enable determination of the practical range of application in this emerging market.”
Paul Davison, SMD Managing Director of Trenching, Mining and Renewables, said: “I’m very pleased with how the ¡VAMOS! project is progressing. This is the first project of its kind for us and so it has been a great learning opportunity. I hope its success will create new opportunities for us all, as well as continue to demonstrate our passion for innovation and delivering world-first projects.”
During November the system will be demobilized and prepared for transport from the UK to the second test site in Bosnia and Herzegovina in spring 2018.